Monday, May 9, 2011

2011 Hippie Chick half marathon race report


On Sunday, 4 friends and I treked out to Hillsboro to run the Hippie Chick 1/2 marathon. The Hippie Chick used to be held out at Champoeg park, but as Champoeg is small and the race is really popular they moved the race out to the Hillsboro stadium this year to accomodate more people. I've never run the race prior to this year, so I can't compare the venues.

The race started at 8am, which is nice because it's quite a trek from the sticks where I live. They recommended early arrival to avoid traffic issues, and I'm glad we listened to them. My running buddy M and I left our house at 5:45 to drive to another friend's house to meet up with everyone and leave from there. We got to the stadium around 6:40 and relaxed in the car awhile since it was a lovely spring day in Oregon (read: rainy and cold.) Around 7ish we headed towards the stadium and found a big bank of Port-a-pottys which were seriously so clean and NO LINES! Score one for hippie chicks! I took care of business (thank goodness...hadn't been able to at home...hate that!) and we went in to find the bag drop, stay out of the rain and meet up with one more friend before the start. Bag drop was really well organized and we got everything taken care of before we headed out to the start.

The start didn't have corrals so everyone just lined up. There were pacers with signs so you could hang by them if you wanted to run a certain pace. I was hoping to PR at this race, so in hindsight I should have pushed my way closer up to the front - but as it was I was closer to the back with my friends who all had different time goals. It took us about a minute to cross the start line and we were off.

The race has both a half and quarter marathon option, so basically if you are running the half you have to repeat the course twice. I was NOT happy about this. I don't like passing the end point in the middle of a run, and frankly it just seemed kind of lazy to me that they couldn't map out a 13 mile route. But they forgot to ask me before they planned it, so anywhooo...the first two miles were straight down a road in an office park/industrial area. There were two lanes going each direction on this road, but they only had one lane for us to run on, so the first few miles were super congested. Also, since they didn't have corrals or tell anyone how to line up for the start there were lots of walkers in the mix that you had to get around. Getting on pace was pretty difficult. I was shooting to run in the low 8's for the race, so this part of the race frustrated me.

Mile 1 ~ 9:16
Mile 2 ~ 8:31

After this we turned onto some country roads and it spread out a little bit, which was much more comfortable. This was a pretty stretch and I was enjoying myself quite a bit. The course was pretty much flat - slight uphills and downhills, but nothing difficult. In the 4th mile you do a little 1/4 mile out and back and get to see the other runners as you're coming back, so it was nice to see running buddy M looking strong and we high fived as we passed.

Mile 3 ~ 8:12
Mile 4 ~ 8:10
Mile 5 ~ 8:11

At the end of the 4th mile you move along the freeway for a bit and then back into the more office/park industrial areas again.

There was water every 2 miles on the course and they were well stocked and supported. They also had Nuun at certain aid stations, although I avoided that until the end of the race.

Mile 6 ~ 8:14

At this point I looked over to my right and saw my friends Ed and Mike out there cheering on the runners! Total surprise that they came out. They asked how I was doing and yelled support which gave me a lift for sure. It's funny how seeing a friendly face can help you out on the course.

Halfway through mile 6, the quarter milers split off into the stadium to finish and the half marathoners go out to complete the course for a second time. As I said before...NOT A FAN of this sytem.

Mile 7 ~ 8:08
Mile 8 ~ 8:14

The second time down this road was definitely improved because it wasn't crowded at all having lost all the quarter marathoners and the race itself had spread out. But I couldn't wait to get to turn onto the country roads - it was so boring and nothing really pretty to look at, so I was glad to get past it.

I had a few Shot blocks at mile 7 and proceeded to have one at every water station for the rest of the race. This worked well for me, and I never felt like I was running out of steam.

Around this point the mental games started and I worried that I wouldn't be able to hold the pace I was going for. I had no reason to feel this way - it was all mental. My body felt good, my breathing was still pretty easy, I wasn't feeling fatigued - it was all between the ears. I kept telling myself to just get to mile 10. I always figure if I can make it to 10 I can hang on to the end.

Mile 9 ~ 8:20
Mile 10 ~ 8:10
Mile 11 ~ 8:13

As we moved back into the office park area I knew that if I pushed it I would have a PR for sure (trying to beat 1:49:55). I began to pick it up. My sister sent me a message once before I ran a marathon telling me "you will be strong and powerful". I use this often as my mantra when I'm trying to push through discomfort. I started repeating it in my head.

Mile 12 ~ 8:03
Mile 13 ~ 7:48

The end of the race has you going on into the stadium and around a fence. There were lots of spectators here and I high fived another running friend I saw. I rounded the corner and saw that the clock was at 1:49 and some change, I sped up to cross before it went to 1:50.

Mile 14 (.22mi)~ 1:29

I crossed the line and stopped my watch - 1:48:55! One minute PR! I was super happy although I still feel like I could have pushed harder if I hadn't let my confidence flag in middle there. I found my friend Michelle who ran the quarter marathon and we waited for everyone else to cross. After that we went and got our bags, ate our free breakfast burrito - totally hit the spot.
We didn't stick around the race long as it was Mother's day, and some of our gals had to get back for family brunches and such. I got home to my two munchkins standing in the window with adorable homemade presents and my son asking me "did you win mom?". Someday he will understand that Mommy's running is solely for her own personal glory....

This was a good half marathon. It was well organized and I liked that it was a fast course. I didn't like the repeat action on the course, but what can you do. Miraculously, the weather held out for the entire race and it DIDN'T RAIN! Oh, one last thing - the gals and I all signed up for this race because we had seen and coveted the hippie chick t-shirts from previous years. Seriously, they were always really cute and they are Brooks, so good quality too! So...this years shirt is the brightest neoniest green shirt I have ever seen. I think it could be used in lieu of a safety vest in the dark it is so bright. You could wear it hunting and feel safe. The logo design is cute though and the medal is too. All in all this was a very enjoyable day and most of all it's just great to be out there with a bunch of like minded women enjoying the run.

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